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Reedy River, South Carolina

Reedy River, South Carolina

REEDY RIVER, SOUTH CAROLINA. 22 December 1775. After the truce that resulted from the actions at Ninety Six on 19 November, the Council of Safety sent a force of South Carolina militia and newly raised regulars under Colonel Richard Richardson and Lieutenant Colonel William Thomson into the region between the Broad and Saluda Rivers to break up Loyalists assembling there. They were reinforced by 700 North Carolina militia under Colonels Thomas Polk and Griffith Rutherford and 220 Continental regulars under Colonel Alexander Martin. By December the Patriot army totaled more than four thousand men, the largest force yet seen in the South. Loyalist resistance collapsed in the face of this strength, and Richardson captured leaders, including Thomas Fletchall, who was discovered hiding in a hollow tree. The only Loyalist unit that refused to disband, commanded by Patrick Cunningham, retreated to Cherokee territory. Richardson sent Thomson with his rangers to hunt them down. On the morning of 22 December, Thomson came upon their camp in the canebrake next to the Reedy River. Loyalist pickets saw the Patriots before they were finished surrounding the camp and opened fire. No rangers were injured, and they took 130 prisoners while inflicting six casualties on the Loyalists. But Cunningham escaped with a handful of followers and joined the Cherokees further south. An error in dating has occasionally led some to believe that Reedy River and the Cane Brake were two separate battles.

SEE ALSO Ninety Six, South Carolina (19 November 1775).

                           revised by Michael Bellesiles

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